Then, you lift off the gas slowly, tip the steering wheel ever so slightly to the right …and you dance. Your car gracefully slides into the gentle turn as nearly all of your momentum carries you forward. For a second, instincts kick in. “Tap the brakes!” your brain yells. But you know that would do as much good as getting out and pushing at this point. Instead, you poke the throttle again as your studded tires bite into the ice. Your car exits the turn, rights itself and prepares for the next elegant manoeuvre.
This experience describes the unique thrill of ice driving, a combination of drifting, tracking and waltzing that demands absolute concentration. Despite the limitations of low friction, your possibilities open up into infinity in front of you with no traffic, trees, or guard rails to get in your way. You also get a rare chance to test out your studded winter tires, combining delicate footing with controlled thrusts of power.
Only a few places in the world offer this one-of-a-kind moment where earth and sky blend into one. Plan your ultimate trip to the frozen, dark extremes of the planet and test your absolute driving limits on the ice by taking a trek to one of the following best places for ice driving in the world.
The snow banked courses cutting through the Alpine village of Livigno are no stranger to the world’s most beautiful cars. Here, supple Lamborghinis, Ferraris and others break in their tires, steering and traction control systems in the most extreme conditions imaginable. By night, drivers can return to a blazing fire in their lodge as they sip fresh ground cappuccino and talk about their day’s exploits.
Every winter, the water upon Khövsgöl Nurr — Mongolia’s second-biggest lake — freezes into slabs of ice five feet thick. During this time, Mongolia hosts festivals that feel part Burning Man, part Cannes depending on where you happen to glance. People challenge each other to rally races, sled races, camel races and more upon the lake’s ice, and then they retire to enjoy festivities. Sip strong beverages out of ice mugs, and warm yourself by the bonfire burning in the middle of the lake for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.